The process of new product development for many OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) can be very complex, filled with the potential for derailment or missed deadlines. That’s why it’s important to select a contract manufacturer with the right expertise who can drive the process from start to finish. An ideal partner will take the client through supply-line development and management, process qualification, product testing, final assembly, retail-ready packaging, and branding, if necessary.
Also, handling the drop shipping of the finished material or using a supply chain control system like “Kanban” helps free up client time and attention, and knowing that the job will be delivered properly and is on time is invaluable. “One-stop- shopping” with an experienced partner delivers peace-of-mind as well as convenience and cost efficiency.
Choosing a contract manufacturer with the expertise to guide a client from end-to-end is particularly important for specialty operations. These types of projects require expertise from a contract manufacturer with an extensive and diverse portfolio of client projects. A partner with a track record of success across and a wide range of output allows you to save costs by booking multiple orders within the same company.
A competent partner will qualify suppliers for every component it assembles. This is particularly important when it comes to ISO standards for risk management. The first step a partner should take is to verify the capacity and fiscal condition of the potential suppliers who will contribute to the finished assembly. Next, a bidding and qualification process vets suppliers’ stated claims about production capability. Your contract manufacturer should be working diligently on your behalf to make sure each source is the right source.
Project management plays a big role at this point, too. This means that the contract manufacturer’s scheduling, tracking, and inspection routines need to be in place to account for the items received—as well as the parts ready for distribution. Just imagine the hundreds of parts and pieces that comprise a subassembly or finished part. Your partner must demonstrate painstaking accuracy to bring it all together.
Your ideal partner will have a breadth of industry experience, gained from many sectors, that benefits your project directly. You’ll want repeatability, low error rates, and consistency from a team that has done it all before.
When it comes to design you should be able to lean heavily on a contract manufacturer to bring innovative, multidisciplinary approach to your project. For example, our experience with medical equipment enclosures and manufacturing taught us the need to take into account more than just the production strategy. Success for that industry requires us to consider regulatory controls that govern the end use of the products. You should expect engineering support to assist with the design and development of your project in ways that help you realize new cost savings or products improvements.
When you’re evaluating your new potential partner, they’ll demonstrate their technical know-how and capacity to meet your individual specifications and act as a personal liaison to all your business needs. But, that’s only part of a fully complete solution. The right contract manufacturer rounds out the offering with end-to-end services to guide your project from start to finish while ensuring the highest-quality of sourced parts are used. With these elements in place, your contract manufacturer’s contribution is hindsight.